Page 11

Author: Jill Shalvis

Ty had gone into 007 mode. His eyes were searching their surroundings, his body ready and alert. He opened a panel she hadn’t even noticed, then pulled something from his pocket and used it inside the panel. In the next second, the lights went out.

Startled, she nearly gasped but he slid a hand over her mouth. That, combined with the way he was holding her against the wall, caused a tsunami of inappropriate feelings to rush through her.

“Don’t move.” He remained still until she nodded, and then he was gone.

Only not completely gone.

She jumped when she felt his hands on her ankles. He was crouched before her, removing first one heel and then the other. Her hands went out for balance and smacked him in the head. She heard his soft laugh, then he had her hand again and they were on the move. She couldn’t see a thing, but Ty didn’t appear to have that problem. He was navigating them both with apparent ease, leading her through the maze of the vast storage unit as if he could see in the dark. They turned corners and squeezed into spots, his hands sliding to her hips, guiding her exactly where he wanted her to go, taking care that she didn’t bump into anything. She had no idea how he could see, or even know where they were going, but she followed him.


It was better than the alternative.

Each time they stopped, she was pulled up against his big, warm body, until she began to anticipate it.

Crave it.

“Mallory?” Now, accompanying Lucille’s voice came a small beam of light.

Good Lord. The woman was using the same Bic app that Grace had. “Oh for the love of—”

Warm lips covered hers. “Shh.”

Right. Shh. Her knees were still melting. Her one hand was in his, trapped between their bodies, but her other hand slid up his chest, around the back of his neck and into his hair. Because she needed a hand grip, she told herself.

“How bad do you want to keep out of her sight?” Ty wanted to know, each syllable rumbling from his chest and through hers. He’d set the vase down, freeing up both his hands. She felt herself rock into him and tighten her grip on his hair, and it took a long moment to process his words because her brain was no longer firing on all cylinders.


God, she liked the sound of her name on his lips. And she liked the feeling that had come over her too, the languid yet throbbing beat of anticipation. She certainly wasn’t bored or sad now. “Hmm?”

“How bad?”

How bad did she want him? Bad.

With a little huff against her jaw that might have been another low laugh, he tightened his grip on her and spun her away from him, setting her hands on something that felt like cold steel.

“Hold on tight,” he whispered and nudged his big body up behind hers, his biceps on either side of her arms, his chest against her back.

Her mind went utterly blank, but her body didn’t. Her body went damp at the wicked thought of doing it right here, like this. From behind.

“Up,” he said, and the fantasy receded. No, he didn’t want sex. He had her in front of a ladder and wanted her to climb it.

Good thing it was dark because it hid the heat of the blush she could feel on her face. She pulled herself up, extremely aware that her butt was in his face, and then she was directly above him.

He was still apparently able to see in the dark. Which meant that he could see right up her dress. She was wearing a brand new silky black thong, her very best, but still, it couldn’t be a very good angle for her.

At the top of the ladder was the loft. Moonlight slanted in from the sole round window, revealing more stored items, a couch and a large table with chairs. The table was stacked with more stuff. There were also rows of framed pictures and empty planters, and a whole horde of other crap. Everywhere.

Mallory moved aside for Ty to join her but the standing space was so small she lost her balance and fell onto the couch.

Ty followed her down.

On the night of the storm, Mallory had been beneath him too, but it felt different this time. Sexy different, and she let out a small, half hysterical laugh.

Ty covered her mouth with his hand, shifting a little to get the bulk of his weight off of her. In the execution, one of his thighs pushed between hers and oh sweet baby Jesus. She promptly stopped laughing and moaned instead. A total involuntary, accidental moan that sounded needy and wanton. And horrifyingly loud.

Ty’s hands tightened on her and they both stilled, craning their necks, looking down into the dark storage area, following the little beam of light as Lucille weaved through the aisles below.

Ty pulled his hand from Mallory’s mouth. “Unless she can climb a ladder, we’re good here until she gives up and leaves.”

Yes. Yes, they were good here. Or very bad, depending on how one looked at it.

Above her, Ty was still as stone, a solid heated package of testosterone and sinew holding her down on the couch. She wasn’t sure what it said about her that she felt just a little bit powerless and helpless, and that she liked it.

A lot.

Another thing she liked? The fact that every time he breathed, his leg shifted up against her core, putting her body on an entirely different page than her brain.

On the get-more-of-him page.

“She won’t give up,” she whispered, more than a little breathless.

“Watch.” Ty shifted again—oh God his thigh!—and pulled something from his pocket, which he threw.

Mallory heard the ping of the coin as it landed with deadly precision all the way across the huge room near the storage room entrance.

Holy shit he could throw.

“Oh!” they heard Lucille exclaim, whipping around toward the sound. “You’re escaping, you smart girl. Darn it all!”

They watched as the little beam of light wobbled back through the room to the entrance, and then in the next moment, vanished completely.

Silence reigned.

Well, except for Mallory’s thundering heartbeat. She was in an attic loft, flat beneath her Mr. Wrong. Her common sense was screaming flee! But her secret inner bad girl was screaming oh please, can’t we have him? Just once?

“You okay?” Ty asked.

Loaded question. “You have some impressive skills,” she said. “I feel like a Bond girl.”

“You weren’t so bad yourself,” he said. “The way you shimmied up that ladder is going to fuel my fantasies for some time.”

So he could see in the dark. And now that they were up here with moonlight coming in the window, she could see too. She bit her lower lip because she could feel, too. She could feel him, all of him. Her breasts were mashed up against his chest, plumping out of her dress suggestively. She wasn’t sure he’d noticed, but then he very purposely dropped his head, his lips just barely brushing her exposed skin. She sucked in a breath and felt him stir against her.

Yeah. He’d noticed. “I have lots of ladder practice,” she said inanely.

“Yeah?” he asked, sounding intrigued. “You climb a lot of ladders in the ER?”

“Uh, no.” Nerves had her laughing. And babbling. “But I had to clear the gutters on my house last fall before the rains hit. I nearly fell when I found a fist-sized spider waiting for me but managed not to accidentally kill myself.”

A low laugh escaped him.

“So why did you do it?” she asked.

“The ladder? Nowhere else to go but up.”

“No, I mean why did you help me hide? And thanks, by the way. You pretty much saved my butt.” Again.

He slid a hand down her arm, squeezing her hip before shocking the hell out of her when he slid that hand further, cupping said butt. “My pleasure.”

At the words, at the touch, her body liquefied. Or maybe that was his fingers, tightening on her hindquarters, making her want to squirm and rock into him.

The brand new bad girl in her took over and did exactly that.

Ty went still. She wasn’t sure what that meant exactly, but she was feeling things she hadn’t in far too long, and she intended to go with those feelings. So she squirmed again.

“Mallory.” There was a warning in that low, sexy tone of his, a very serious warning.

She’d wanted a kiss, but hearing him say her name like that was almost as good. And now she wanted more. She wanted things she didn’t even have names for. So she wriggled some more, hoping like hell she was getting her message across because she wasn’t all that practiced in the bad girl department. Amy had been right; she needed lessons. She made a mental note to address this as well at the next chocoholics meeting. For now, she’d wing it. “Yeah?”

“Are you coming onto me?”

“Well, technically, you’re on top of me,” she pointed out. “So I think that means that you’re coming onto me.”

With a groan, he pressed his forehead to hers and swore beneath his breath, and not the good kind of swear either. And though she should have seen this coming, she hadn’t.

He didn’t want her.

It was perfect, really. Perfect for the way the rest of the night had gone. Horrified, humiliated, she pushed at him. “Sorry. I got caught up in the moment. I’m not very good at this, obviously.” He didn’t budge so she shoved him again. “Excuse me.”

He merely tightened his grip. “Not good at what, exactly?” he asked.

“Really? You need me to say it?”

When he just waited, she sighed. “Attracting men. I’m not good at attracting men. Now if you could please get off.”

He lifted his head and cupped the back of hers in one big hand, his eyes glinting with heat. “You first,” he said rough and gravelly, leaving no mistake to his meaning.

She gasped, and he took advantage of that to kiss her, his lips moving against hers until she gasped again, in sheer pleasure this time.

Things went a little crazy then. Ty’s mouth was firm and hungry, his tongue sliding against hers, and God, she’d almost forgotten what it was like to be kissed like this, like there was nothing on earth more important than her. That long-forgotten thrill of feeling soft and feminine rushed over her.